The taste of McDonald's ice cream may be consistent, but — as anyone who regularly orders soft serve at McDonald's knows — its availability is anything but.
Twitter, community Facebook pages and Nextdoor are full of complaints about broken machines and questions about the status of machines at local McDonald's stores.
"Anyone born between the years of '76 and '94 will have vivid memories of McDonald's caramel and chocolate ice cream sundaes with nuts. It was delicious. It is delicious," Highland Park resident Michelle Johann said of McDonald's soft-serve ice cream. "Every time you see a McDonald's as an adult you think, 'Should I? Yeah, I'm going to go for it,' and nine times out of 10 their ice cream machine is broken. And you kick yourself and say, 'I should have remembered. It's always broken.'"
A new website, mcbroken.com, helps fans of McDonald's soft serve avoid the frustrating experience of waiting in line just to learn that the restaurant's machine is broken.
Site creator Rashiq Zahid told CNN that it works by placing ice cream orders on the McDonald's Android app at the 10,000 or so McDonald's restaurants it tracks around the U.S. If the restaurant's ice cream machine is down, the app removes the ice cream from the order and the McBroken site lists the restaurant's machine as broken.
At 3 p.m. on Monday, McBroken reported that the ice cream machines were broken at three out of 12 McDonald's restaurants in Chattanooga, or 25%. That's an unusually high rate of broken machines compared to other U.S. restaurants tracked by the site. At the same time on Monday, about 9% of all McDonald's restaurants the site tracks had broken machines, and the cities with the highest percentages of broken machines included Boston (22%) and San Francisco (20%).
Rob and Carrie Goodwin, co-owners of several local McDonald's franchises, did not respond to requests for comment.
Contact Emily Crisman at email@example.com or 423-757-6508.